1 pound ground beef OR CAN OF CHILI WITH NO BEANS
1 packet taco seasoning ... or use your own combo of seasoning like garlic powder onion powder or chili powder
1/2 cup salsa plus 1/4 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can rinse and red kidney beans well drained
1 (9-ounce) bag of tortilla chips (this is one of the smaller bags, but you can eyeball from a larger bag)
1 jar of meltable cheese
1/4 cup red onion, minced
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef OR CONTINUE WITH CAN CHILI. When the meat is nearly cooked, drain any excess grease, and then sprinkle with the taco seasoning or your own mixture of seasoning as stated above and stir in the salsa and water. Stir to combine, and then simmer the mixture for approximately 5 minutes or until thickened (this will prevent soggy tortilla chips later), stirring occasionally. Stir in the drained beans.
When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a rimmed half-sheet pan with foil or parchment paper, and then cover the pan with a mixture of the tortilla chips. At this point, I use about 2/3 of each bag. Reserve the rest.
Top the chips evenly with 2/3 of the cheese (you can eyeball this) followed by roughly 2/3 each of the ground beef OR CHILI mixture, and onion.
Top with a layer of remaining chips (omitting the broken pieces at the bottom of the bag – reserve these for a chili or chicken tortilla soup topping), then evenly scatter the remaining cheese, beef, and onion over all.
Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the cheese and chips start to brown lightly around the edges. (Check a minute or so early as all ovens vary.)
Remove from the oven and top with the avocado, jalapeño, scallions and optional ingredients of choice, serving the wet ingredients like salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on the side. Serve immediately.